Pedagogy and Architecture in Action: the Power of a Common Language
The essay summaries some findings from a research project carried out by the Department of Education of the Free University of Bolzano from 2012 to 2015. The research frames 10 case studies of schools built in the past decade (preschools, kindergartens and elementary schools) in the context of the contemporary debate surrounding the relationship between architecture and pedagogy in the South Tyrol region of Italy. The focus of the research resides in the processes that lead up to the design and construction of a new or renovated school, analyzing the trajectories that each project takes in relationship to the projects’ final outcomes. The essay posits a need for a shared language between the pedagogical and architectural fields to better navigate the arduous path towards the building of a new school, and underscores the benefits of involving the various stakeholders in the planning of the school to help the institution work to its fullest potential upon resuming the scholastic activities in the newly designed spaces. One of the important findings of the research is the school body’s apparent difficulty in cohesively communicating their teaching and learning needs and the subsequent missteps that can occur from an administrative and architectural standpoint in addressing the programming of the school. In many cases, the school representatives and the architects commissioned to design the new school found themselves working with little common ground and at different paces that were often difficult to reconcile under tight budgets and timeframes. But knowing the point of view of each of the key players in the process can help develop new synergies.